“A Mile from Land”
By. Lee McQuinn
(note: all names, locations, and identifying information has been changed to preserve privacy and respect.)
14 February 2017 – Timeline: 1985
We met up with another ship at the next port-of-call and transferred passengers. Then, we spoke with the Naval Authorities about what we had found, and had witnessed. The medical team decided to change ships, except for me. I had asked Captain Merk if I could stay, at least for another month.
The truth was, I had found a home on the ship. I found working the helm to be a worthy challenge, especially in storms. I enjoyed the wind on my face; the sound of the water as it kissed the hull. And, I’d become rather fond of visiting the different Islands and cultures. The Captain agreed, saying I could stay as long as I desired. Personally, I’d become like family. There was a mutual love and care among the crew.
And so, I stayed. My duties didn’t change much save that I would be spending more time studying Maritime Laws and Traditions. I now took more time at the wheel. I learned more about how to read the winds and which sails to call for and when. In my off-hours, I could be found with the Sailmaker, or the Engineer down in the bowels of the ship.
We all have moments in our lives that mold and shape us. Finding the remains of the massacre was one of those moments in my life to that point. It changed my soul, hardened my heart, focused my innermost demons. And, led me to learn even more self-defense. The latter, Ian was very happy to teach me.